Donald Trump beats John Kasich in Ohio, poll says

If the Ohio primary were held today, Trump would win 31 percent, Kasich 26 percent, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas 21 percent, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida 13 percent, and retired brain surgeon 5 percent, according to a survey of likely Republican primary voters by Quinnipiac University.

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On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would beat U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont by 15 points, the poll found.

Although it looks dim for Kasich in his own state, there appears room for movement. Pollsters found that 5 percent of GOP primary voters are undecided and 38 percent say they might change their mind before the March 15 primary. Nearly one-third of Republican primary voters say they would “definitely not” support Trump and 22 percent say they wouldn’t support Cruz.

Primaries and caucuses held before March 15 award delegates proportionally so candidates who don’t place first don’t walk away empty handed. But states that vote on or after March 15, including big ones such as Ohio, Florida, Illinois and North Carolina, are winner-take-all.

Quinnipiac University Poll Assistant Director Peter Brown said in a written statement: “A Kasich Ohio win is crucial to the Republicans trying to stop the New York businessman’s nomination. If Trump can defeat Kasich in his home state, that would be an impressive demonstration of his strength in a state that is just now getting attention. But Trump’s lead is just 5 points, certainly not large enough for him to breathe easy.”

He added that while Clinton, who won the Ohio primary in 2008, has a double digit lead over Sanders “anything can happen in three weeks of presidential politics.”

Early voting is already underway in Ohio.

And Nevada Republicans hold their caucus vote today while South Carolina Democrats hold their primary on Saturday. Next week is Super Tuesday when voters in 14 states hold primaries and caucuses.

From Feb. 16 to Feb. 20, Quinnipiac University poll surveyed 759 Ohio likely Republican primary voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points. Pollsters surveyed 518 likely Democratic primary voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points. The survey talked with voters on land lines and cell phones.

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